The Seattle City Council is beginning the process of defunding the police department. On Monday, the council voted to move forward with the controversial proposal.
The council members voted 7-1 in favor of defunding the department. The results come despite strong objections from the city’s police chief, mayor, and the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, Fox News reports. The one dissenting vote comes from Councilmember Kshama Sawant because she felt that proposal didn’t go far enough, according to MyNorthWest.com.
Some of those in favor of defunding the police sought a 50% slash to funds. However, the Seattle City Council does not plan for such a drastic funding cut.
Seattle City Council Votes to Defund Police, but What Would That Look Like?
Currently, the Seattle Police Department employs around 1,400 police officers. The council’s new plan sees 100 officers cut. In addition to firing a portion of the officers, the plan reduces the department’s budget by about $3 million, KOMO reports.
Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda spoke out in support of the plan. “While we can’t do everything in this summer rebalancing package, we have set the path forward for tremendous work in front of us as a council and as a city,” Mosqueda said.
Some of the council members say that Monday’s vote only marks the initial first steps in making changes to the Seattle Police Department. “It’s important to show community members that we hear them, that we’re working towards the same goal,” Mosqueda said.
According to Police Chief Carmen Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan expressed reservations about defunding the police. The two voiced support for halting discussions about police budgets until officials tackle the 2021 city budget. They also argue that the layoffs may target newer hires, including many from minority communities.
While Durkan held reservations about making decisions at this time, she doesn’t disagree with defunding the police. She reportedly hopes to reduce the police budget by about $75 million by 2021.
[H/T Fox News]